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Found New Roads

108 days, 11,160 miles (17,960 Kilometers), 16 states, 10 National Parks, dozens of national forests and countless mountain passes.

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Chaco Canyon: South Mesa

I enjoyed hiking in Chaco Culture National Historic Park.  I went every day there, except the first day and the last.  The first day I didn’t go because I set up my camp.  The last day I didn’t go because it was very hot outside.  The South Mesa trail begins at Casa Rincanoda with a gently rising path zigzagging up the side of the cliff.


Hiking the South Mesa is generally easy except for two obstacles.  One is the constant sunshine.  There is no shade in Chaco Canyon, so the sun constantly shines on you.  The second obstacle is on the trail.  When you’ve finished zigzagging your way up the side of the cliff for about 200 feet or 70 meters, you’ll have to work your way through this crack in the canyon wall.


Passing through this crack takes you through the last thirty feet to top of the canyon wall.


The view from on top is rewarding and worth the extra effort to get on top of the canyon.  There are the ruins to see.


And the impressive views of the desert.




There are also distant views of other ruins such as Pablo Alto on the North Mesa.


Hiking inside Chaco National Historic Park is challenging and enjoyable, but be prepared for distant hikes of five to eight miles (eight to twelve kilometers) in constant sunshine which makes the hiking dangerous.  Bring water and prepare yourself for the heat from constant sunshine.


The ruins of Tsin Kletsin on top of the South Mesa are interesting but offer a historian no answers.  However, they do add to a growing collection of photographs and continue to add to my question about what happened to these people and the people of Cahokia.  The Chaco culture flourished from about 650 AD to about 1300 AD.  The Mississippian culture of Cahokia flourished from about 700 AD to about 1300 AD.  Both of these cultures flourished in two very different environments at roughly the same time and both of these cultures broke down at the same time.





I’ve spent the past two weeks moving out of my apartment.  I just made a simple post to Facebook, where some people actually know me.  Some of my friends have been questioning me since the end of the job, mostly asking where I am.  Still here, has been the standard response.  My post to Facebook today changed that with one word.



First Year Red-winged Blackbird

I’ve been noticing Red-winged Blackbirds that aren’t completely black and the red-winged part isn’t as bright.  After some research I’ve reached the conclusion these are Red-winged Blackbirds in their first year of adulthood.




Eagle Season

This time of year, May through early July, Eagles stay near their nests to care for their Eaglets.  It makes it somewhat easier to get photos of them.  This year, however, getting a good shot or even an opportunity at a good shot has proven illusive.  With the workweek winding down and the weather looking better this weekend than the past several weekends, hopefully that illusive shot will present itself.

It isn’t for lack of trying or from not being where they are that I haven’t been getting shots.  In the shot below an Eagle and an Osprey can be seen working the same patch of lake, but on the other side of the lake from where I was.


That same Eagle then flew across the lake toward its nest, but took the long way, avoiding the spot where I hid.


Not that I’m complaining, because I very much appreciate living in an area of the world where I can see these birds, I’m just trying to impress upon you, my dear followers, that by early July the Eaglets will fledge and then it will be more difficult to get photos of Eagles.


The Countdown



A critic

I’ll be Simon Cowell today and hope you’re paying attention.

If I’ve taken the time to press the follow button WordPress has provided me, then I read your posts.  I can actually envision a day where I’ll have hundreds of posts to sift through and will have to develop a criteria for the ones I read and don’t read.  How about the first sentence?  If the first sentence is well written that would probably compel me to read further.   So write those first sentences well.

I love it when you get personal.  Lets me know who you are and what you do.  What life is like in the Philippines, or in Australia.  But not too personal.  I really don’t want to read any crap about that new sex-toy you’ve just bought.  I think there is plenty of porn on the internet without inducing me to read yours.   I don’t care for poetry either, and I’m a published poet so I doubt I’ll read your poems.  I think it’s a dead art anyway.

Is, Are, Was and Were:  I don’t ever want to see these passive verbs.   You may only use these words in a statement of fact.  The sun is shining.  Randy was a young man.  Once upon a time there was a Martian named Valentine Michael Smith.

You might be asking yourself by now, what’s going on here?

What’s going on is one of you has tricked me into reading your blog and attempted to make me read something that was poorly written and you attempted to pass it off as a taste of your writing.  Well, I had a taste and I spit it out.

The very first sentence caused me to yell, “Seriously?”

Here it is:

Jordan opened the door to his room as quietly as he could, it was three o’clock in the morning after all and he didn’t want to wake Rachel from her sleep.

This sentence is wordy and redundant and there are other issues as well.

First of all, if you are going to write about a couple then you have to be a couple.  The door to his room, should be the door to their room and since they are a couple the bed takes on heightened meaning making it the door to their bedroom.

The part that caused me to ask my computer screen, “Seriously?” was he didn’t want to wake Rachel from her sleep.  Do we really have to wake Rachel for her sleep?   Can’t we just wake Rachel?

So I would rewrite the opening sentence.

Jordan quietly opened the bedroom door because it was three o’clock in the morning and he didn’t want to wake Rachel.

Better, but I still don’t like this sentence because it tells me the time rather than shows me the time.

Jordan quietly opened the bedroom door because he didn’t want to wake Rachel.  He looked at the alarm clock on the nightstand next to their bed.  Oh no, he thought.  Three o’clock.

Showing creates action which engages your readers.  So there you have it, some basic instruction on creative writing.

Remember to ask yourself, Do I really need this word and is it the right word?  Am I using passive verbs, is, are, was and were?  And by all means, be personal.

I’m sorry if I bruised your ego.  I guess I should have had more than decaf for breakfast.

May 2020

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